Course content

This course focuses on human-environment relationships and their implications for nature and society.  Scientific concepts such as the “Anthropocene” and “planetary boundaries,” which are increasingly used to describe the nature and extent of contemporary environmental challenges, will be explored from a social science perspective. The issue of climate change will be a focal point for examining the drivers and consequences of environmental change, including relationships to processes such as globalization, urbanization, and land use changes. Social science perspectives on topics such as consumption, energy use, greenhouse gas emissions, impacts, vulnerability, resilience, adaptation and mitigation will be presented and related to the broader debates about transitions and transformations to sustainability.

The lectures, readings and seminars will explore how environmental discourses influence understandings and responses to contemporary environmental problems, including the role of beliefs, values, and worldviews in shaping the rules, norms, institutions, policies and power relationships, which can either promote or constrain practical responses to environmental challenges. Students will actively engage with debates on and experiments with individual and collective change, and explore what alternative approaches and paradigms have to offer.

Learning outcome

Knowledge

  • Understand key concepts and theories about environmental problems, including vulnerability, resilience, adaptation and human security;
  • Explain the role that discourses play in framing problems and solutions;
  • Recognize different perspectives and approaches to environmental problems, and how these influence research, policy and action;
  • Understand the key issues related to individual environmental problems such as climate change, biodiversity loss, deforestation, etc.;
  • Understand the links between globalizaton and environmental change, and recognize how multiple processes (e.g., economic change, urbanization, epidemics, etc.) intersect and interact;
  • Explain how environmental problems are linked to development and understandings of human-environment relationships and society-technology dynamics;
  • Understand how contributions from the social sciences can contribute to a more comprehensive understanding of environmental problems and solutions.

Skills and Competence

  • Discuss and debate articles and text on environmental issues;
  • Recognize how different discourses are represented in media coverage of environmental issues;
  • Experience in writing short opinion pieces on environmental problems;
  • Write an academic text with references that addresses a particular question related to environment and society;
  • Reflect and comment on the assignments of other students;
  • Present and defend viewpoints among a group of students.

Admission

Students who are admitted to study programmes at UiO must each semester register which courses and exams they wish to sign up for in Studentweb.

If you are not already enrolled as a student at UiO, please see our information about admission requirements and procedures.

Prerequisites

Formal prerequisite knowledge

No obligatory prerequisites beyond the minimum requirements for entrance to higher education in Norway.

Recommended previous knowledge

Overlapping courses

Teaching

Seminars and lectures.

Compulsory instruction and coursework

It is required of the student that he/she writes a feature article relevant to the course. The student must be present in the first seminar where he/she will be assigned to a group.

Completed and approved compulsory course work is valid until the course is no longer offered. Students who have failed to complete the compulsory course work cannot take the exam.

General information

  • This course will be taught at The University of Oslo, Blindern campus. Other location in Oslo may be used. The e-learning tool Fronter will normally be used.
  • The teaching is organized as lectures and seminars, which will be given in English. The course is part of the regular course provision at The Faculty of Social Science.
  • Application for change of seminar group
  • Teaching is mainly held during daytime. Teaching is organised as a combination of lectures and seminars throughout the semester.

Absence from compulsory tuition activities

If you are ill or have another valid reason for being absent from compulsory tuition activities, your absence may be approved or the compulsory activity may be postponed.

Access to teaching

A student who has completed compulsory instruction and coursework and has had these approved, is not entitled to repeat that instruction and coursework. A student who has been admitted to a course, but who has not completed compulsory instruction and coursework or had these approved, is entitled to repeat that instruction and coursework, depending on available capacity.

Examination

The exam is a 2-week home exam in English. The minimum length of the home exam is 10 pages (excluding references) and maximum 14 pages, using 12 point letter size and a spacing of lines 1 1/2.

The exam question will be available from 10.00 am on the day of the exam and must be submitted at 2.00 pm 14 days later.

Use of sources and citation

You should familiarize yourself with the rules that apply to the use of sources and citations. If you violate the rules, you may be suspected of cheating/attempted cheating.

Language of examination

The examination text is given in English.You may submit your response in Norwegian, Swedish, Danish or English.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

It is recommended to request an explanation of your grade before you decide to appeal.

Appeal

Explanation

The deadline to request an explanation is one week after the grade is published. For oral and practical examinations, the deadline is immediately after you have received your grade.

The explanation should normally be given within two weeks after you have asked for it. The examiner decides whether the explanation is to be given in writing or verbally.

Ask for explanation of your grade in this course:

  • home exam

Resit an examination

 

    Withdrawal from an examination

    It is possible to take the exam up to 3 times. If you withdraw from the exam after the deadline or during the exam, this will be counted as an examination attempt.

    Special examination arrangements

    Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.

    Evaluation

    The course is subject to continuous evaluation. At regular intervals we also ask students to participate in a more comprehensive evaluation.

    Facts about this course

    Credits

    10

    Level

    Bachelor

    Teaching

    Every spring

    Starting spring 2018

    Examination

    Every spring

    Starting spring 2018

    Teaching language

    English

    Contact

    SV-info